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A new Einstein could be living in Cambodia

Cambodian students

By Jessica Wheelock, Oxfam Community Campaigner, Qld

We all deserve a fair go, right? Whoever we are, wherever we live?

And by its very nature, a ‘fair go’ is universal. It has to be if it’s going to be fair.

This means a fair go in accessing things like education, healthcare, employment, food, water, and a broad range of human rights including gender equality.

Right now, around the world, Australian aid is helping providing this access. It’s helping make the world a fairer place.

In partnership with local communities, through Australian aid we are supporting mothers through childbirth, giving access to clean water and both preventing and curing disease.

In my community, more and more people are talking about how proud they are of the difference Australian aid makes, and of our potential to create a fairer world.

But at the same time, we are witnessing the largest ever cuts to our aid budget. These cuts mean our contribution to ending poverty could soon be at its lowest ever level.

Last month, we held a competition to find out how important secondary students thought Australian aid is in building a fairer global community. The response was incredible; and on the awards night kids took the stage to recite, rhyme and remark their thoughts.

“The new Einstein could call Cambodia home and we wouldn’t even know it; but Australian aid does,” said Tarni from Chisholm Catholic College.

Anisa from Runcorn State High School rhymed that “If we ever want to change this world, there can only be one conclusion. Increasing Australian aid has to be our solution!”

Aaliyah from St John’s Catholic College knows that “contributing just a little bit more would make such a huge difference.”

In recent years, the Australian Government hasn’t appeared to share these views. But with our new Prime Minister comes renewed hope.

I wonder what Malcolm Turnbull would have to say if he was on stage with Tarni, Aaliyah and Anisa?

I know what I’d like him to say.

He would celebrate the great things Australian aid has and will increasingly achieve. He would make the case for repairing our aid budget, not cutting it further. And he would set a vision for a future free from poverty.

Please join me in asking the Prime Minister to do just that. As Sophia from St John’s Anglican College says: “We must be heard. We can no longer let it be. So spread the word!”